Summer is finally here for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Right on schedule, we have long days and warm weather to exciting races and long days of adventuring on a bike. It’s finally time to break out your best summer kit. These are the pieces that represent the highest technology most brands tools. Not only that, but especially with the best cycling jerseys, it’s also an opportunity to bring your own sense of style to the table. Something that looks as good as it performs.
With that in mind, we have spent time looking at a jersey from PAS Normal Studios. The best known brand for premium pricing and the emphasis on fashion so we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. We have had the opportunity to spend many hours testing one of the twelve colors available in the aero-fit Mechanism jersey and now we are ready to share our findings. If you’ve heard of the brand but are unsure if the jerseys are worth it, keep reading to see what we like and what we don’t. Maybe PAS Normal Studios will be the next addition to your summer cycling wardrobe.
Design and aesthetics
One of the reasons that PAS Normal Studios finds itself at the center of so many discussions is that it is one of a handful of fashion-focused brands. In the case of the Mechanism, the style is a clean color block design with a choice of 12 colours available. Far from the bright and bold design you might see on a WorldTour athlete, PAS Normal Studios uses rich shades you are not used to seeing in a cycling jersey. Yellow is nowhere in the list but nestled among the twelve options are names like bronze and purple. There is a shade of red but it’s got a twist that sets it apart from what you’d expect.
It’s worth mentioning that the bread of colours is only possible because PAS Normal Studios uses dye sub-printing on white fabrics. You have encountered this technique in older garments and found it lacking, often you will see the color wash out as the fabric is stretched and it can feel cheap. However, with the Mechanism, PAS Normal Studios has used a high-quality print and perhaps most importantly, a fabric that accepts the color well.
The brand has a further use of its branding. From the left of the chest is a small wordmark that says “PAS Normal Studios International Cycling Club.” The kerning is not quite perfect but it’s obviously been applied to the size and shape of the all-caps sans-serif text. In the rear is a much larger application of the text, where you’ll find the letters “P, N, and S” with another all-caps “International Cycling Club” below it.
PAS Normal Studios isn’t just about style though. Or perhaps more accurately, it has also used features to shape the style. There have been no claims of aerodynamic performance but the Mechanism still represents the brand’s aero jersey offering. Think of it as performance for the sake of design with the design language of aero optimization used to deliver on style.
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That’s not all bad though, the Mechanism might not have been tested but those design details have been well used. The fabric is exceptionally light and silky with the front panels being solid. As you move away from the front panel, the fabric changes to a lightweight mesh. The entire rear of the jersey is a single piece of lightweight mesh, which covers the entire back, the top of the sleeves, and curves over onto the shoulders. The nice tall collar is one place where there’s been a departure from the aero look.
Another aero jersey departure is the use of wide elastic banding at the end of the arms and waist. Although the body of the jersey is not dyed fabric, it is printed, the elastics use dye so no white to peek through as they stretch. The inside of the elastic features silicone grip material; in the rear, the width helps support the pockets.
The pockets themselves use the heavier, non-mesh, fabric of the front panels and rely on the material stretch to keep things secure. There is a large circular reinforcement at the intersection of each pocket though and an elastic edging at the top. There’s also a fourth, zippered, pocket with a clever internal structure that sits against the back while the larger pocket sits above it.
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One of the hardest things for a jersey to deal with is the fit at the lower abdomen. PAS Normal Studios nails and small pieces that can come together to make the Mechanism jersey work really well in this area. The front panels are long enough that they do not creep above the bicycle when standing but when bent over on the bike there’s not a whole lot of fabric to ripple and bulge. At the very bottom, the wide elastic gripper does a good job keeping the hem from creeping up but it also provides a lot of structure at the bottom of the jersey. Then, the final detail that works in this area is the side panels. The fabric is just a bit higher, at 14 per cent, in elastane content and combined with the right tailoring and tight fit, the effect is flattering and comfortable.
The other detail that I look for in my favorite jerseys is the performance of the pockets. PAS Normal Studios does not use any kind of expandable gusset in the design of the pockets but they do place them on the back and help stabilize them with a lot of structure. Below the pockets the wide waist gripper keeps them from sagging or bouncing. At the top of the pockets themselves the use of elastic edging keeps them open while riding. Then, designing the zippered pocket so it sits underneath the primary pocket means you have got keys or a credit card in it. It’s a small detail but it’s a clever way to add longevity.
One detail that some people may find lacking is the zipper. For those with salty sweat, it’s a small tooth metallic zipper that will prone to degradation over time. For everyone else, it’s still not ideal as it’s impossible to get open single handed. The neckline on the Mechanism jersey is a highlight and there’s a large zipper garage that makes sure you’re not going to experience chafing at the top of the zipper. That part is great but it’s so big that it’s tough to find the zipper under it. Once you do, it’s too stiff to pull down without a second hand.
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Personally, this isn’t a jersey I tend to unzip when riding. The fabric is light and silky and, as mentioned, most of the piece is mesh, so even as temperatures rise this summer, you can grab this jersey for the hottest rides and you will remain comfortable.
When it gets wet, the fabric is quick to dry. I’ve even headed out with the jersey still wet from the washing machine and had it dry before even a short mid-week ride was coming to a close. You will need to wash it after every ride though and even if it does the heat and dry fast, it does not leave temporary sweat stains. Some colors are likely to show that more than others but it is noticeable in the Dark Olive color option shown here.
The sleeves and shoulders are another high point. Using a single piece of fabric that wraps over the top of the shoulder is an excellent way to keep the mobility high at the shoulder. As you reach the bike you still need to have a movement restriction. The length is perfect for the aero look but never long enough to interfere with the bending of the elbow. The wide elastic is just the right level of compression too. Everything just feels right on the arms.
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The PAS Normal Studios Mechanism jersey has quickly become one of my favorite options. Something I grab over and over even when I should be testing different pieces. The fabric is comfortable and the color is great. The perfect fit for me and this is a jersey I love to use when I want to show up to a group ride and look good but also when I am heading out on my own and want to feel my best.
I would have given this jersey a perfect score if not for a few mis-steps. The zipper is not quite right and although the fabric is showing sweat stains despite being quick to dry. The biggest mis-step for me though is actually related to aesthetics. As the Mechanism looks, the large PNS in the center is not my favored look. I’d rather let the fit and color handle the visual communication and instead keep the branding to a minimum.
|Pocket Quality||Easy to reach with a child of structure and space plus an extra zippered pocket.||10/10|
|Neckline Comfort||Taller than some but not tight and very comfortable.||10/10|
|Zipper Quality||Small metal teeth and impossible to operate one handed.||0/10|
|Shoulder Mobility||No issues.||10/10|
|Heat management||Ultralight, tons of mesh, excellent in the heat.||10/10|
|Ability of waist to stay put||No issues.||10/10|
|Fashion appeal (doesn’t it look / feel good)||It looks amazing but the branding pulls it down.||7/10|
|Sizing||True to standards.||10/10|
|Quality Fabric||Silky feel and a joy to wear.||10/10|
Tech Specs: PAS Normal Studios Mechanism Summer Jersey
- Price: £ 150 / $ 200 / € 180
- Weight: 97 grams in small size
- Size availability: XXS-XXL
- Color Options: Bronze, Purple, Black, White, Petroleum, Dark Olive, Navy, Dark Gray, Green, Deep Red, Dark Blue